Where can GPs access help and support if they are struggling to cope?

GPonline provides a list of organisations that can help GPs and primary care staff who are dealing with stress, burnout and other mental health issues.

Helplines and professional support

NHS Practitioner Health
This is a confidential NHS service for all doctors and dentists in England that can help with issues relating to a mental health concern, including stress or depression, or an addiction problem, in particular where these might affect work. Details on how to access the service are here.

NHS England coaching service
NHS England has a coaching service to help support GPs and their teams. It is available to any member of staff involved with delivering a primary care contract. GPs using the scheme will receive an initial 45-minute coaching session that will be delivered virtually via a video platform, although telephone appointments will also be available. Those taking part will have access to follow up sessions and ongoing email support, depending on their initial discussion. There service also now provides peer wellbeing sessions. For more information and to book a session go to https://people.nhs.uk/lookingafteryoutoo/

NHS England staff mental health and wellbeing hubs
NHS England has launched 40 local staff mental health and wellbeing hubs, which offer rapid clinical assessment by a mental health professional and access to talking therapies. The hubs will be able to refer primary care team members to NHS Practitioner Health if they have more complex needs (doctors and dentists are able to self refer to NHS Practitioner Health). Full details of the hubs are here.

BMA Wellbeing Support Services
BMA Wellbeing Support Services (formerly BMA Counselling and Doctors Advisor Service) has a counselling service staffed by professional telephone counsellors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Counsellors are all members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and are bound by strict codes of confidentiality and ethical practice. There is also a peer support service giving doctors and medical students in distress or difficulty the choice of speaking in confidence to another doctor who has experience of supporting colleagues. Call 0330 123 1245.

Sick Doctors Trust
Provides support and help for doctors, dentists and medical students who are concerned about their use of drugs or alcohol. A confidential helpline is available 24 hours a day on 0370 444 5163.

DocHealth is a confidential, not-for-profit service giving doctors an opportunity to explore difficulties, both professional and personal, with senior clinicians. It is supported by the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Royal Medical Benevolent Fund (RMBF). Call 020 7383 6533 for more information.

Free and confidential support for NHS and social care staff in Wales. To refer yourself for mental health support you need to complete the form here.

Doctors in Distress
Doctors in Distress is a UK based independent charity that promotes and protects the mental health of all healthcare workers and prevents suicides in the medical profession. While the charity doesn't run a helpline it does have a range of free programmes and webinars, aimed at promoting and protecting the mental health of all healthcare workers.

Peer support groups

Doctors’ Support Network
A confidential, peer support group for doctors and medical students with mental health concerns including stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychoses and eating disorders. 

British Doctors and Dentists Group
A mutual help group for doctors and dentists who are recovering, or wish to recover, from addiction to or dependency on alcohol or other drugs.

The Doctors Support Group
The Doctors Support Group (DSG) aims to provide support and assistance to medical professionals or dentists facing suspension, exclusion, investigation of complaints and/or allegations of professional misconduct.

Financial help

The Cameron Fund
The only medical benevolent charity which solely supports GPs and their dependents, whether financial problems are due to ill-health, disability, death or loss of employment. This includes both those who are already suffering from financial hardship and those who are facing it.

Royal Medical Benevolent Fund
The RMBF provides support for doctors and their families through all stages of their career and beyond. Our help ranges from financial assistance in the form of grants and loans to a telephone befriending scheme for those who may be isolated and in need of support. Details on how to get help are here.

The Royal Medical Foundation
The Royal Medical Foundation aims to assist doctors and their families who are in financial hardship.

Wellbeing apps

NHS staff in England have access to a range of free wellbeing apps - details of the apps that are available are here.

Read more
Practical tips to deal with burnout
> Read GPonline's Wellbeing for GPs series and find more advice

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